8. Matthew McConaughey, 'Dallas Buyers Club'
Ron Woodroof, the electrician at the center of Dallas Buyers Club, isn't the sort of guy who's normally the focus of an Oscar-winning movie — which makes it appropriate that he's played by Matthew McConaughey, who, for most his career, wasn't part of any Oscar conversation. But starting with 2011's The Lincoln Lawyer, the actor said goodbye to his beach-bum, rom-com shtick and started doing more thoughtful work, culminating in award-winning turn as a Texas homophobe who, after contracting HIV, discovers what it's like to be discriminated against in America. McConaughey honors the man's principled refusal to get all cuddly and inspirational just because he's dying.